16 years ago today, I wrote this in my journal:
Last Wednesday Gabe confused my faith with his Mormonism. It was my own fault for asking so much about it. I was upset, but then I went to a concert at CDO Assembly Church and that cheered me up….
I’ve been through so many things such as depression, drugs, and alcohol. And I need to take those things and turn them around for good. I wanna warn kids and parents about Satan’s tactics and how evil the world really is, but I’m not sure how. I know that when I’m ready the Lord will use me for good. In the meantime, I need to straighten my head out and read more. Praise the Lord Jesus Christ for the miracles He’s performed in my life!
– September 21st, 1998
Dear Former Self,
So Gabe confused your faith, huh? For the first time since your dramatic decision to love and serve Jesus Christ, you were faced with someone who has similar but different beliefs. And that scared you. Gabe believes in the Book of Mormon and seems just as sure of it as you are of the Old and New Testaments. So you may have thought, “How do I know the Book of Mormon isn’t true?”
This is a great question! And for that matter, how can you be sure every other religious text isn’t true? The Catholics have seven additional books that aren’t in the Protestant Bible. And the Muslims–who believe many of the same books you do–have the Koran. But that only covers the major Western religions. There are hundreds of other religions who have their own holy books. How do you know all those other books are wrong when you haven’t even investigated them?
But at this point you would rather not ask questions like this. You would rather feel certain that you are right (even though you haven’t even read the whole Bible, yet). It’s a nice feeling and it allows you to dismiss all other belief systems without having to go to the trouble of examining them, but it is intellectually dishonest.
You mentioned that you want to warn people about Satan’s tactics, but how are you going to do this when the Bible doesn’t say anything specific about his tactics? It says he is cunning and deceptive, but not much else (you’d think God could have been more helpful in that regard). How can you claim to understand the mind of Satan when you can’t even prove he exists? And more importantly, why should anyone believe you?
You also mentioned that God has performed miracles in your life, but how do you define “miracle”? You’re not the first person to turn his life around after having a religious experience. People of all faiths and creeds have had similar experiences. Were those miracles, too? I urge you not to throw this word around so casually as doing so will only make you sound foolish.
– Matt, September 21st, 2014
This is part of an ongoing series called Letters to My Former Self.